These next two post in the series will probably be the most difficult to write. But they were also the time I came across the most empathic person I have ever known.
I finished off the last post on this End-Of-Life Trauma series by telling you that my wife was being kicked out of the Hospice House because she was not dying fast enough. Of course, that led to another Aspie meltdown, which was the most severe one I had during this period. I’m sure I was screaming at this point, as I just didn’t have a clue on what I could do now. I couldn’t take care of her by myself, and I solemnly promised she would not die in a county nursing home. I saw this as an impossible situation!
I really don’t remember how it happened, but a few hours later, Jessica showed up and gave me a path forward. She said that there was a possibility that my wife could live out the remaining days of her life in what I knew was a well respected retirement community where she was employed.
When we talked, it was just she and I talking in a private room. Due to my Aspie traits, I am not all attuned to reading people’s feelings, but Jessica so patiently listened to my uncontrollable ramblings. That alone meant everything to me. So many others before had kept a “professional” distance, as they had probably been trained to do. I could tell that Jessica was filled with empathy, unlike anyone I had encountered during this period, and maybe ever. I felt I finally had someone who completely understood my grief. That meant the world to me.
She explained that there were several options available. I won’t bore you with those details, but will say that I chose a one-bedroom apartment that was currently available as where my dearly beloved would spend her final days. Jessica worked with the hospice organization to have a hospital type bed delivered to the apartment. On the final day at the Hospice House, the medical transport arrived, but I learned via a text message from Jessica, the hospital bed was not in the apartment! I, as emphatically as I could, said my wife would NOT leave the Hospice House until a bed was in place at my apartment in my retirement community. I just had visions of them putting her on the floor and rushing out! Fortunately, it was less than 30 minutes before Jessica again texted to tell me the bed arrived.
I came to the apartment ahead of the transport, and Jessica was already there to meet me. She had everything in place and explained that there would be 24-hour assistance for anything my wife would need. Nurses during the day gave her the “by mouth” morphine to keep her pain down, and I would do the nighttime regime.
Even though Jessica was actually the RN administrator, she made frequent visits to the apartment to make sure our needs were being met. My wife would be there for nine days before she passed, and Jessica was frequently there, including the time when the love of my life actually died. She was there to hold my hand and to console me. That meant so much to me.
Next week will be about those final days of her life, the most significant would be the period of what is described as a sudden burst of energy before death. This short time span is called “terminal lucidity”. I will talk that it in next week’s post.